Together with The Grundfos Foundation, FANT facilitated the project Girls Saturday in 2022. A project dedicating sports pitches all over Sierra Leone one Saturday per month to girls and introduced them to different sports activities and the strong community around sports.
“Through participation in sports activities, girls experience improved self-confidence and insight into own empowerment to make them capable of standing up for themselves and become an active part of the changes they wish to see in the communities,” says Mamaduh Bah, Project Coordinator in FANT Sierra Leone.
In general, girls are welcome in all local FANT associations, but it can be an obstacle for them to step into – and participate in – an arena that is normally dominated by boys. Therefore, the dedication of the pitches has proved to be a good way of including girls who have never been part of a sports community before. It becomes a safe space where it is of no importance whether you are a good football player or not.
Grant for more future role models
The Foundation recently granted DKK 2 million to continue the work that has been done in the first phase of the project Girls Saturday. Football pitches in 30 local communities in Sierra Leone will be dedicated to the girls the last Saturday of the month as well as pitches in 6 newly created handball clubs. This will expand the number of participants who can be part of the project.
FANT has already seen an amazing development with the girls who have been part of the projects dedicated to the girls.
“Girls Saturday is a free space with an informal tone and a forum where serious and often tabooed topics like risk of rape, menstruation, circumcision which is an issue among girls in Sierra Leone, lack of access to education and the like, can be touched upon,” says Mamaduh Bah.
Shy girls started the project but ended up with being very reflective and they suddenly dared having dreams and hopes for a future involving sports and where they are being listened to. The girls dare dream of a future where they can be role models for future generations – and it is important within a community to have strong role models.